Nielsen: Media consumption changes with coronavirus social distancing

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 19 March 2020

Social distancing, a consequence of the coronavirus crisis, will push media consumption habits 60% higher, according to analysis by Nielsen.

Media consumption in the US is already at historical high with Americans already spending just under 12 hours each day with media platforms. 

"In fact, staying put in our homes can lead to almost a 60% increase in the amount of content we watch in some cases and potentially more depending on the reasons," says Nielsen.

"Considering that consumers around the globe are already leaning into the growing array of content options and channels, a 60% increase is significant." 

Nielsen analysis of previous crisis events shows that people watch feature films, news and general format programming.

The analysis also found a 61% increase in using streaming via the TV.

Consumers stayed indoors binging content, watching movies and keeping up with news from the outside.

nielsen media consumption

Nielsen says people want to stay informed, kill time, find solace and stay in touch with others.

"They also stock their pantries with the necessary food and supplies to help get them through these trying times," says Nielsen.

Nielsen analysed total TV usage (TUT) data during Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and a major snowstorm in January 2016. Not surprisingly, usage levels increased significantly during both.

In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Texas. Nielsen foundof  a 56% increase TV usage. And in Janaury 2016, a severe snowstorm  in the New York sent TV usage 45% higher.


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